The Flame’s Kiss, The Flawless Cut, Orefinder, Mistress of the Forge
Holy Symbol: A flawless diamond wreathed in flames.
Portfolio: Fire, mining, smithing, metal and gems.
Cleric’s Alignments: LG, CG, NG, N, CN
Domains (Subdomains): Fire, Earth (Caves, Metal), Artifice (Construct), Chaos, Good
Blessing: Energy Resistance: Fire (2) (increases by +2 at levels 5, 10, 15 and 20)
Favored Weapon: Warhammer
Art by Ian McAlpine
Centers of Worship
Ator’s temples can generally be found in medium and larger cities, as they have the infrastructure to support them. Some smaller towns may have a small temple dedicated to her, and virtually any metalworker in any sized community will have a small shrine dedicated to her in their workshop. One can also find a few remote shrines dedicated to her in areas near active volcanoes as well as near the entrances to active mining complexes.
Ator is the goddess of fire, as well as mining and smithing and the basic materials associated with those endeavors. She is an ancient deity who some say was responsible for creating the molten furnace that burns at the center of Merisyl. Her followers often argue that if it weren’t for her endeavors, Merisyl would have remained a cold, barren rock floating through the void.
On one hand, Ator is as chaotic as the flames she is associated with. What she takes an interest in one day will be left in her wake like ashes as she moves onto something else the next. She is not one to champion causes that will take a long time to resolve themselves, nor is she known for laying out intricate plans.
The one area that proves an exception to her otherwise flighty nature is the artistry involved with making items from metal or gems. Ator is fascinated with metalworking and gem crafting, and to a lesser extent the activities necessary to acquire the raw components needed for those endeavors. While she has been known to appear and dance amongst the flames of a fire raging through a town, she has also been known to appear to a smith or jeweler in the midst of crafting a masterpiece and lend her love of metal and gems as inspiration for the task at hand. Likewise, she has been known to send divine inspiration to miners and point them towards particularly large deposits of gems or metal.
Ator is most commonly depicted as a flawless crystal dragon, but she also appears at times as a human or morphic woman bedecked in jewelry made from the finest metals and encrusted with numerous gemstones. Sometimes she will also be wearing a perfectly forged set of armor or carrying a weapon of unsurpassed quality. She has been known to bestow one of her pieces of jewelry as a token of her favor to followers who particularly impress her, usually with a perfectly-wrought piece of jewelry, weapon or armor.
There is, however, one apocryphal tale of Ator rewarding an apprentice smith for making the perfect set of nails. She is said to have appeared to him just as he was about to throw the nails in a pail of finished product. She took the nails from him and held them up to the light of the nearby forge and inspected them. After gazing at the nails for a matter of minutes, Ator turned to the apprentice and handed him a platinum ring and commended him on the “nails that would save the kingdom.” She then smiled and disappeared in a flash of heat and flame. The apprentice laid the nails reverently on his forge and went to find the local priest of Ator. While he was gone, his master came into the workshop and collected the pail of finished nails and threw the nails on the forge in with the rest where they were eventually used to shoe the horse of the king’s champion. Two days later, the king’s champion led the kingdom’s army into battle against an invading horde. Being trained for warfare, the champion’s horse struck many an opponent with its hooves over the battle as it drug out for three days. Nearing the climax of the battle, the champion and his horse found a moment of peace as the battle moved away from them. The champion took the opportunity to examine his horse’s gear for damage and found that though the horse’s two front shoes were mangled and worn thin from constant use over the course of the battle, they still held strong in place, thanks to an unusually sturdy set of nails. It was due to those nails that the champion’s horse never faltered over the course of the long battle and he was able to lead the kingdom’s forces to victory.
Though some consider Ator to be a vain goddess due to her bedecking herself in so many pieces of jewelry, this is not the truth of the matter. While some find beauty in a particularly attractive mortal, a sunrise or other naturally occurring phenomenon, Ator sees the beauty in objects wrought by mortal hands. The way a gem reflects light after going under the jeweler’s knife. The way the intricate inlay on a breastplate reflects firelight. The way blood runs freely down the perfectly crafted fuller in the blade of a sword. Natural objects reshaped and repurposed by mortal hands, these are what Ator finds beautiful. For while most anyone can take a lump of gold and sell it for its base value, only a true artist can turn it into a beautiful piece of jewelry. So though some would say that the goddess bedecks herself in gems and jewelry to enhance her own appearance, this is not so. She does so out of a love for the objects themselves. When she holds a ring up to watch the light reflect off of it, she is not admiring the way that it sits upon her finger, but instead admiring it for the beauty it possesses in and of itself.
Fire. Fire is what helps mortals shape metal and gems into the objects of beauty that Ator so adores. If for this reason alone, she would love fire. But fire is so much more to her. It is the primal energy at the center of all things. It provides protection from the cold and the dark. It renews the land and allows for new growth. But most importantly, it burns so beautifully. Whether the flames are consuming inanimate or animate objects, they dance in a hypnotic way that can transfix a person. Ator loves this aspect of fire and it is why she considers fire hers. While naturally occurring fires are to be enjoyed, Ator takes even more pleasure from fires started by mortal hands. Even the lowly flames flickering in a lone campfire are engaging as far as she is concerned, and many is the prayer offered to Ator by weary travelers looking to cook their food over an open flame or start a fire for protection and warmth as night closes in around them.
Ator does not generally concern herself with the machinations of the various political factions of Merisyl. What does it matter to her who rules over a particular plot of land? She knows that all of the mortal races covet the metal and gems that she so fancies, so whether it is an evil tyrant or benign lord ruling over a particular place, she knows that the things she loves will be embraced by whomever is in charge and she will be able to move amongst the populace on the rare occasions it strikes her fancy and see all of the lovely items that are often crafted if not in her name, with at least some thanks to her.
Ator’s church is very loosely organized. No really strict hierarchy reigns supreme, and her clergy often defer to the eldest member present. Her clergy often works as jewelers or smiths as well, for they know that the products they craft please their goddess. Ator’s clergy often affiliate themselves with mercantile councils or merchant’s guilds as a brisk trade in raw ores and gems is vital to being able to craft items that will please Ator. Thus it’s not uncommon to find a member of the church, whether an actual divine caster or a lay person, as the head of a merchant’s guild in some of the larger cities. Some members of her clergy are so skilled at smithing or jewelry making that even if they are not divine casters, they can still work their way up in the church’s hierarchy, such as it is.
Paladin Code: Ator does not have any paladins dedicated to her.
Temples and Shrines
Ator’s temples tend to be large, elaborate affairs with much metalwork combined into the architecture of the buildings. It is also not uncommon for a temple to have many gemstones inlaid in various patterns or forming mosaics on the walls. Some temples have even commissioned large sculptures carved from precious gemstones and combined in intricate lattices to form statues of Ator in her crystal dragon form. Most temples will also have an altar that incorporates a large perpetually burning fire (sometimes achieved through magic, sometimes through more mundane means) into which worshippers can toss offerings to Ator. Often this fire will have a large diamond set above or in it to resemble Ator’s holy symbol.
Most of Ator’s temples can be considered “working” temples because they have one or more forges or jeweler’s shops incorporated into them. Indeed, a large part of the church’s funding comes from products crafted by its members. Those temples that don’t include one or more of those functional areas are still usually located near sections of a given town that contain those types of craftsmen.
Shrines to Ator are usually small but intricate affairs designed with multiple metal parts and gemstones inset into them. In more remote areas they are usually smaller affairs forged from common metals with cheaper gemstones so as not to be too tempting to thieves. Though Ator has on occasion been known to set aflame would-be thieves seeking to pilfer from her shrines, so it takes a brave scoundrel indeed to risk it, especially for some of the baser metals and gems that amount to little more than paste and glass. One would think Ator would turn up her nose at the lesser materials used in her more remote shrines, but given the artistry of her devotees, she is often impressed with what they can accomplish even when not using the best of materials.
A priest’s role
Most of Ator’s clergy devotes itself to not only crafting exquisite items of metal and gems, but also to spreading the knowledge of how to do so. Many of the best smiths in Merisyl study at forges located inside temples of Ator. Many is the master jeweler that has learned his or her craft at the feet of one of Ator’s clergy. They do not turn away any willing students with the aptitude, but for non-worshippers there is a nominal fee to learn their crafting secrets.
One might think that Ator would have her clergy guard closely the secrets of their craft, but this is not so. Ator looks at it simply as “the more artisans out there, the more possibility for truly beautiful items to be created.”
In more remote areas of Merisyl, some druids will devote themselves to Ator in her aspect as the deity of fire. These druids see fire, and thus Ator, as nature’s way of cleansing the land of the old and dead to make way for new growth. They often help oversee farming communities use of fire to cull old growth to make way for new planting. They also will use fire in more martial ways to protect the communities in their care.
Amongst those capable of casting divine spells, in addition to the druids mentioned above, most of Ator’s clergy consists of clerics. She is not one for great causes or crusades, so she has no paladins. She has very few inquisitors or warpriests, though of those few, the ones that follow her do so in her aspect of the The Flame’s Kiss, for fire has many martial uses. There are a number of shamans and oracles that follow Ator, in much the same manner as druids would. They generally choose the flame or metal mysteries when they do so.
When it comes to non-divine caster followers of Ator, they are quite varied. Perhaps most common are the more martial classes that rely heavily on having the best arms and armor available. They know that the best metallurgical artisans generally follow Ator and thus they pay homage to her as well, for it often the craftsmanship of one of her devotees that is all that stands between them and a gruesome demise.
Those sorts of a more roguish bent have less reason to call on Ator, though some do for the same reasons as the more martial types. Too, there are those that pray to her in the hopes she will lead them towards the gems and finer metals they often seek when plundering places like tombs or merchant’s vaults. Ator sometimes answers these sorts of prayers. Not because she necessarily approves of larceny, but because a beautifully crafted ring is better worn upon someone’s finger than secreted away in the dark where the beauty of its craftsmanship can’t be appreciated.
Ator does have a fair number of arcane casters that pray to her in her aspect of The Flame’s Kiss for the destructive potential of fire. Some also pay homage to her aspect as The Mistress of the Forge. It never hurts to have her blessing when trying to construct magic items made out of metal and/or gems.
Clothing: Ator’s clergy prefer to dress in earthen or metallic tones often highlighted in various shades of red, yellow and orange to represent her fiery aspect. Jewelry is always prevalent, unless there is some practical reason for it to not be worn. When worn, armor and weapons are always of at least masterwork quality if possible, and usually adorned with multiple gems, though never in such a manner as to reduce the armor or weapon’s efficacy unless it is purely for ceremonial purposes.
Holy Texts:Of Fire & Forge is Ator’s primary holy text. It lays out the basics of harnessing the power of fire for forge work and the basics of smithing as well as more advanced techniques. This information appeared in the form of apocryphal tales of Ator teaching the ways of smithing to various mortals referred to as Forgeminders, who then disseminated the knowledge out to the world at large. The Hardest Cut is a companion volume with similar tales that teaches the basics and advanced techniques of the jeweler’s trade. Treasures of the Earthen Depths is a smaller tome of tales that espouse mining practices as well as means of finding the best places to search for minerals and/or the gems that Ator loves so much. The least known text of Ator is Dar’ist Akken Fis’r’ak du Farash. Translated from draconic, it is The Beauty of the Advancing Flame. This is one text that her clergy prefers to keep as little known as possible, since it is also often called The Pyromaniac’s Bible. It contains numerous tips and tricks for setting fires and making them as volatile as possible so that they are not easy to douse. One tale speaks of a wizard who sought vengeance upon a druidic order for some reason lost to time. The wizard started a fire in the middle of the forest protected by that order using information from Dar’ist Akken Fis’r’ak du Farash and using his copy of the text as the initial fuel. The fire spread to engulf the whole forest and would not be doused, even when the druids unleashed the power of a dozen rain storms upon it.
“As good as gold? Fine. But platinum would better.” This basically means “That’s your best? This will suffice, though I expected better.”
“His (or her) veins run not deep.” This means that a person is shallow, similar to a mine that only produces a small amount of minerals. Do not expect much out of that person.
“<insert name/object> is truly wrought.” This means that the object or person is an outstanding example. A paragon or exemplar in the case of a person or creature, or the best possible outcome of creating an object. For example “Tolliver is a truly wrought warrior,” would mean that Tolliver is an outstanding warrior.
Relations with Other Religions
Ator gets along particularly well with Caltolav. His areas of concern overlap with hers in some ways as well as help to facilitate the trade in metals and gems that leads to her followers being able to forge many items they might not be able to otherwise. Likewise, she is friendly with Nuvria as the sun and fire go hand in hand. She has a bit of a love/hate relationship with Khirr. On the one hand, his lightning can lead to fantastic fires, but at the same time, the storms that often accompany it douse the flames that Ator so cherishes. Szalavalar is respected, as the engineering she espouses often leads to wondrously large metallic objects that Ator finds much joy in. Of the remaining deities, Ator is pretty much neutral in regards to them, with the exception of Zelagiur. Him she despises, for his darkness abides not the flames she holds so dear.
Like the other draconic gods of Merisyl, Ator resides upon the Draconic Plane. Her realm is known as The Flawless Flame. It is a large castle made of diamond hard walls wherein fluid metals and liquid flame mix in active currents inside the walls, forming spectacular fiery mosaics that slowly shift over time or at Ator’s whim to show different scenes. The castle itself floats over an active volcano. Access to it is by flight or long metallic bridges that are magically cooled (as is the castle itself) to allow for visitors.
Ator has numerous servants that work her will on both the Draconic plane and Merisyl, as well as places in between. Amongst these are Krr’th’anon, an ancient fire elemental of giant proportions. He is her primary emissary to the Plane of Fire. Azdul Ibn Shrakshi is an efreeti sorcerer that she often employs as her go between with her clergy. Then there is S’rexisvexethet, The Red Doom. An ancient celestial red dragon who, though neutral in actual disposition, is Ator’s primary engine of destruction on those rare occasions she is moved to battle. S’rexisvexethet questions not why his mistress wishes something annihilated by flame, he only knows that it is right when she demands it, and nothing will stand in the way of his cleansing flame.